The GOODS from Orofino Strawbale Winery
Cawston, BC | Orofino Winery has purchased the 10.45 acre Passion Pit property that sits at the foot of Orofino Mountain on the Cawston Bench in the Similkameen Valley, British Columbia. This acquisition compliments the winery’s original 6 acres that was planted in 1989 and purchased by the winery owners John and Virginia Weber in 2001. 3 additional acres next to the winery were purchased in 2015, making the total acreage now owned 19.45 acres. The winery also leases an 8 acre vineyard in Cawston and has 15 acres under long term contracts with 3 other local growers.
“2 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon were planted at the Passion Pit exclusively for us in 2007. We purchased all of the grapes starting with the innaugural 2009 crop. In 2015 we leased the vineyard and have controlled the farming ever since. This past August we had the opportunity to purchase all 10.45 acres.” said owner and winemaker John Weber. ” We know the quality of wine we can produce from this special site and we are thrilled at the prospect of making more Passion Pit single vineyard wine.”
The site features gentle slopes and some serious granite rock. In fact the site used to be a commercial gravel pit. This sun-drenched rocky terroir with slight elevation on the Cawston Bench is surrounded by granite cliffs and sage brush and has all of the ingredients for a premium red grape vineyard. “ Back in 2007 we had to choose between planting Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. Cab was planted and it proved to be a great decision. Now that we have additional space to plant vines on the property, its our chance to see how well Syrah can do.” says Weber.
The potential of this special site is already found in Orofino’s single vineyard bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon. “The Cab from the Passion Pit has become a favourite of ours and many of our customers. It is always quick to sell out.” Says co-owner Virginia Weber. “ We are anxious to plant the remaining acreage to see what we can do from there. Its a world-class site and sits only a five minute walk away from the winery.”
The name of the property has been around for a couple of generations. Locals have long called it “The Passion Pit” as the commercial gravel pit also doubled as the local make out spot.
Orofino Winery is owned by John and Virginia Weber who moved from Saskatchewan to the Similkameen Valley in 2001. Their first vintage was in 2003 and Orofino now makes around 6500 cases of wine annually. The winemaking style is very much terroir-driven with numerous single vineyard wines produced. The winery has received many accolades over the years including being named as a top 25 winery in the country twice at the National Wine Awards. Orofino proudly makes wine from 100% Similkameen Valley grapes. They built the first straw bale, solar-powered winery in Canada and have been Gold Level certified by Green Tourism Canada.